Spring is without a doubt my favourite time of year – so much hope after a long, often bleak-feeling winter. And it just gets better and better as the weeks pass. Cold, crisp sunny days, when it feels like summer in the sun and winter in the shade. And it is that feeling that I have tried to capture in this recipe – a fresh vibrant fricassee chicken but in pie form. You can stick to my recipe if you like but equally you can use whatever veg you have to hand. If asparagus isn't quite in season yet, just omit and add chopped green beans or baby leaf spinach to the base instead. It's the spring veg that really lifts this dish.
To serve, I've paired it with a Côtes de Gascogne, a fresh light and easy-to-drink white wine which works well with the hum of lemon in the base. An Austrian grüner veltliner is another good option. Serve with a crisp salad on the side and you have a perfect springtime meal.
- 750g chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
- Olive oil
- A knob of butter
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 spring onions, trimmed
- 125g bunch of asparagus, trimmed
- 2 large or 3 medium carrots, peeled
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- ½ bunch of thyme, leaves picked
- 1 rounded tbsp plain flour
- 400ml hot chicken stock
- 80g peas – fresh or frozen
- Zest of ½ lemon
- 150ml double cream
- 500g red-skinned potatoes
Preheat the oven to 190ºC. Cut each thigh into 4 and season well. Place a wide, shallow ovenproof pan or casserole dish (around 26cm diameter) on a medium heat and fry the chicken in a little olive oil and the butter for 5-8 minutes until browned.
Meanwhile prepare the veg – slice the spring onions and asparagus into 2-3cm lengths. Slice the carrots into 1cm rounds. Finely chop the garlic.
When the chicken is ready, add the garlic, carrots and spring onions to the pan along with most of the thyme leaves. Reduce the heat slightly and sauté for 10 minutes. While they are cooking, wash and slice the potatoes into ½cm rounds.
When the veg is ready add the flour to the pan, stir in, then add the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Stir in the peas, lemon zest and sliced asparagus. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes until slightly thickened. Stir in the double cream.
Lay the potatoes evenly on top of the chicken, overlapping them slightly and season whilst layering. Drizzle the top with olive oil and the remaining thyme leaves and transfer to the oven.
Cook for around 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown and the potatoes are cooked through.
The Society's Côtes de Gascogne 2020
This ever-popular wine from south-west France is a fruity, thirst-quenching white that has just a hint of roundness on the finish. A bright and breezy choice for spring.
Familie Mantler Grüner Veltliner Niederösterreich 2020
Lifted and wonderfully refreshing grüner with lemon, peach and apricot flavours from an idyllic family winery in sleepiest Austria.